NYC Criminal Negligence Lawyers
When an individual fails to use reasonable care to prevent others from harm, it is known as criminal negligence. In New York, to be found convicted of criminal negligence, an individual must be aware that his or her actions may cause injury or death to another individual. Criminal negligence is seen under the law as a criminal action, so those accused of criminal negligence have violated a standard of care that is expected in New York City.
Intentional Conduct and Recklessness
Intentional conduct must occur for most crimes to get a conviction. For example, if an individual hits someone, he or she intended to cause harm, which can result in an assault charge. When an individual raises his or her hand at another person but doesn’t make physical contact, it isn’t considered assault. However, it is considered an unintentional use of force.
There are many instances when serious injures and death have occurred because of the unintentional actions of another. When these circumstances arise, it is referred to as recklessness or negligence. Reckless behavior would include an individual who knows that his or her actions are risky, but they continue to participate anyway. For example, a street race that takes place on a highway that causes another individual to be hit and killed is reckless, as the driver’s intent wasn’t to kill another person. As a result, the driver that caused the death would face a reckless behavior charge.
Intentional Conduct and Negligence
While negligence is more commonly seen in civil lawsuits, it can also be seen in criminal cases. One way to look at the distinction between negligence and recklessness is that a person who is reckless is aware of what they are doing is dangerous, and one who is negligent should have been aware of their actions. One example may include an individual who was texting while driving and hits another vehicle. If severe injuries occurred because of the accident, it may be considered negligence as opposed to reckless behavior.
What is the Reasonable Person Standard?
One component of criminal negligence laws is referred to as the reasonable person standard. According to this standard, an individual accused of negligence must have acted in a manner unlike a reasonable individual would have in the same situation. In addition, the individual must have known that his or her actions could cause significant harm or death to another individual. Basically, an individual who is driving under the influence and causes a collision, which leads to the death or serious injury of another individual, may be charged with criminal negligence. This is because the individual should have been aware, as stated in the reasonable person standard, that a collision could have been a possibility.
What About the Mental State of the Accused?
When an individual’s mental state was the cause of the actions that resulted in a criminal negligence charge, it could be used as a valid defense. When an individual has a physical impairment or mental disability, which would hinder him or her from understanding the severity of their actions, it could be determined by the court that they are innocent of criminal negligence. However, the laws in New York still mandate that individuals exercise due diligence prior to specific activities, which includes those with a physical or mental disability. In addition, this defense can only be used when a defendant is able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt their mental and/or physical impairment influenced their judgment.
What Precautions Could be Taken?
There are some cases where a criminal negligence charge may be avoided. If the defense can provide evidence that shows the defendant took certain precautions that would avoid serious injury or death, he or she may not be charged. One example may include an instance where a skydiver dies because his or her parachute failed to open. The individual who was responsible for ensuring the parachute functioned properly may not be held responsible if he or she can prove that the parachute had been inspected and the individual who died was given proper lessons as well as being made aware of the possible risks.
In New York, criminal negligence that causes a homicide is a Class E felony. If convicted, an individual could face a maximum prison sentence of four years as well as a costly fine. In addition, these individuals may also be required to participate in a post-release probation program, and they may have difficulty finding employment when they are released from prison. For these reasons, it is vital for those facing criminal negligence charges to contact a New York City criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A criminal defense attorney understands how to collect evidence and develop an effective defense. Those who seek guidance from a defense attorney will significantly increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.